By Susan Braden
If one of your tooth has been infected, then you will likely root canal. The very thought of this procedure scares many people, both physically and financially. Many patients have heard horror stories about the pain and expensive price of a root canal. If you would like more information about the steps of a root canal treatment, here is what you can expect your dentist to do to your tooth.
After your dentist numbs your affected tooth, he or she will stretch a sheet of rubber around it, called a “rubber dam.” The primary purpose of a root canal is to clean bacteria out of your tooth. Since saliva contains bacteria, the rubber dam keeps your tooth saliva-free so as not to recontaminate it while the procedure is being performed.
Your dentist must next access the infected area where your tooth's nerve tissue resides. Your dentist will use a drill to reach down to your tooth's pulp chamber. For a molar, this hole will be drilled through the chewing surface; for a front tooth, the access hole will be created on the back of the tooth.
Next your dentist will clean out the pulp chamber and root canals in the tooth's interior. This is primarily accomplished by using “root canal files,” and by irrigating the tooth. The dentist will move the file up and down the tooth's interior in a twisting motion. This action scrapes and scrubs the sides of your tooth’s root chambers, thus cleaning out any bacteria, toxins, nerve tissue and related debris inside. With an irrigation process, your dentist will wash your tooth out periodically to flush out any excess debris.
After this procedure is complete, the dentist may either cap the hole with a crown, or seal it with a rubber compound called gutta percha and a sealer, which will work together to fill the area that has been cleaned out. If you need these follow-up procedures, you may need to visit your dentist on more than one occasion, depending on your tooth's complexity. This is typically an additional cost to the price of the root canal, however a discount plan or insurance can help cover this additional charge.
This procedure is not particularly painful, contrary to popular belief, and might not be as expensive as you may hear. If you have access to a dental plan or insurance, you could actually receive a very cheap root canal. If you are experiencing discomfort in one of your teeth, it would be wise to make an appointment with a low cost dental plan provider to see if a root canal is necessary. The sooner you address an infected tooth, the less expensive and time consuming your procedure will be.